Ritz-Carlton recreates an authentic hamam


Turkey's ancient tradition of hospitality is being continued with the October 2001 opening of The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul, a landmark tower with views overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

The five-star hotel is the first in the city to offer guests private spa services in an ornate and authentic recreation of the centuries-old Turkish hamam.

General manager Michael Blanchi described this first addition to Istanbul's collection of luxury hotels in a decade as "exceptional for both its strategic location and dedication to quality and personal service".

The 244-room hotel, located in the city centre of Dalmabahce, is a soaring high-rise with views of the mosques and monuments of Istanbul and the interior embraces the rich culture of Turkey.

Istanbul architect Sinan Kafadar says the Ritz-Carlton design has "classic elements influenced by globalisation".

The 'sense of place' begins in the spacious lobby, where green and bricked marmit floors and paintings by noted Turkish artist, Timur Kerim Incedayi, recall the splendours of the early Ottoman empire.

The rooms and suites combine regional design elements with the technological innovations required by today's travellers.

The hotel's traditional Turkish 'hamam' is modeled after the Baths of Roxelena which opened in the 1500s near the Blue Mosque. Featuring a domed steam room and massage platform, the hamam is for the exclusive use of a single guest at a time.

To introduce The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul, a 'Flavour of Istanbul' package, providing a selection of special amenities begin at $225 per night is available through March 31, based upon double occupancy.

The package includes airport transfers, deluxe room, Turkish coffee or mint tea in the morning, a hamam treatment of choice and welcome gift of Turkish ceramic tiles.